Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) in the school context provide a set of practices that may help children to be more aware of their mental and behavioral habits and to learn to develop healthy mind habits. In the last years, there has been an exponential growth of empirical research documenting the benefits of practicing mindfulness in educational contexts. However, most of the studies have used quantitative methodologies, and only a few of them have used qualitative approaches. In addition, up to date, few studies have evaluated the impact of mindfulness-based interventions in school settings for children at risk.
This qualitative study investigated the perceptions of at-risk children after participated in a MBI in a low-resource school in Santiago de Chile. Eighteen children between 9 to 11 years old were interviewed in a semi-structure format. Following the grounded theory, the data was analyzed using descriptive and axial coding.
The findings showed that the children experienced an integral learning process after the intervention. This involved emotional, cognitive, and behavioral aspects that are described in the following seven main themes: (1) dissatisfaction state before the intervention and intention to feel better; (2) main learnings and benefits of the mindfulness-based intervention; (3) meaningful core practices and exercises; (4) feasibility and acceptance; (5) transference and application of learnings outside the classroom; (6) benefits of the MBI in the school and family climate; (7) children’s perceptions and feelings about their changes.
An MBI in a low-resource school has the potential to improve children’s self-awareness, attention, self-regulation, and social relationship skills.